Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 12

September 11, 2015 at 11:15 AM

maccabeantreeWelcome to part twelve of this series on Daniel 11. I’m amazed at how much there is and in at least some ways, we’re not going tremendously deep. In our last installment – Prophecies of Daniel, Part 11 – we covered one verse, Daniel 11:31. There was a lot there about Antiochus Epiphanes IV and once we compared Scripture to secular history, it seemed like we would never run out of information.

We learned that Antiochus was called “despicable” by the angelic messenger (cf. Daniel 11:21) because of what he would eventually do regarding the Jewish people, Jerusalem, and the Jewish temple itself. We learned how he slaughtered thousands upon thousands of Jews, then slaughtered a pig on the Jewish altar and sprinkled its blood around inside the Holy Place. As if this was not enough, he also erected a statue of his favorite deity – Zeus – and some historians tell us he also placed a mask of his own face over the statue’s face, implying that he – Antiochus Epiphanes IV – was a god.

This event became known as the “abomination that desolates” spoken of by Jesus in the gospels and even referred to by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2. Both Jesus and Paul indicate that this same type of event will occur at the end of this age during the period known as the Tribulation, a time of seven years in which God pours out His wrath over all the earth. Daniel 9:27 alludes to this event as well.

Let’s keep going with Daniel 11:32.

“By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”

A good con artist can flatter a person out of house, home, and all the money they have and the victim will feel wonderful about the con artist while it’s happening. It’s only after the realization sinks in that the victim was simply being used that feelings of victimization occur. The worst part of course is that no one likes to admit having been taken. Imagine being taken advantage of to the point where you lose your entire life savings and even your retirement because of a person who has no scruples and no concern for your well-being. You are there for them and that’s all they see. However, instead of coming to you with a gun and forcing you to hand over your money as in the case of a strong-armed robbery, the con artist comes alongside you and treats you as one who is dearly beloved. Because of that, you let your guard down and you simply place your trust in that person.

This is who Antiochus Epiphanes IV was and how he operated. In effect, he was a true sociopath. Everything he did was done for himself and he cared not one iota for any other person. He pretended to like and even admire others in order to gain their trust. He would then take advantage of the situation for his own selfish gain.

“This tyrant was a past master in manipulating Jewish leaders who were divided in their loyalties, winning them over to his cause by glowing promises of preferment and reward. As a matter of fact, Antiochus already had as partisans for his cause a considerable number of influential leaders in Jerusalem society and politics who were convinced of the expediency of a pro-Hellenic policy.” [1]

Ultimately, Antiochus rewarded those who caved into his pretense. These individuals – Jews of Jerusalem – were already on the progressive fence regarding the Mosaic Law, so gaining their confidence wasn’t that difficult. To these particular Jews, the religious symbolism and position within that hierarchy was something they wanted for themselves.

Certainly, by the time Jesus walked this earth physically, the Jewish priesthood was a mess. Bribes, corruption, payouts, and more were the norm. Whoever was high priest had tremendous power and position within Israel. That’s certainly not the way it was supposed to be because the high priest was supposed to be the greatest servant like Moses (even though he was never an official high priest – that position went to his brother, Aaron), who entered the holy of holies whenever he needed to do so. The actual high priest could only do so once per year.

Antiochus managed to turn Jewish men toward godlessness because they were already looking in that direction anyway. Antiochus provided the calculated impetus for it. This deference to Antiochus by Jewish men ultimately culled the “progressives” from the mix, leaving those who eventually fought against Antiochus for how he desecrated the Jewish temple and forbade Jews from observing the Mosaic Law.

In essence then, just as Daniel 11:32 tells us, Antiochus did several things. First, those who were already godless in their hearts, were given the needed shove to go full tilt in that direction. Second, those who were faithful to God stepped up and that’s exactly what happened because it wasn’t long after this that the Maccabean Revolt.

“Initiated by a priest named Mattathias from the town of Modein (Moden) in Ephraim, and led by three of his sons, Judas, Jonathan, and Simon (cf. 1 Macc. 2:23-28), this nationalistic movement eventually overthrew the Seleucids in Palestine.” [2]

These faithful Jews had right on their side. They fought to repel Antiochus, his general, and his troops. They were right in doing so because Israel was (and remains) a theocracy, whether that is admitted to in today’s world or not. God Himself created Israel from the Hebrew people He created from one line of Abraham’s ancestry. God created Israel as a theocracy where religious life – first the Tabernacle, then ultimately, the Temple – became the focal point of everything that happened in Israel. Without God, the priesthood, the temple, there was no Israel and by the way, of course all of that pointed to Jesus.

It would appear that in allowing Antiochus Epiphanes IV to seemingly have free reign and do whatever he wanted to do, including desecrate the Jewish temple, God forced Jews to decide. It is reminiscent of Joshua and his challenge to the people of his day (cf. Joshua 24:15). Jewish men were forced to make a decision, with some choosing to side with Antiochus (representing the devil), while others sided with the household of Mattathias (representing God). This was not their only victory as other victories would come with the release of more Jews.

We will see at least some of this reenacted during the coming seven-year Tribulation period where the final “man of sin” – the Antichrist – will first gain Israel’s trust in spite of his lies, then will turn on Israel in the middle of the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2). Antichrist will then go on a rampage against Israel, but Israel’s final remnant will be protected by God Himself and Antichrist will then go after Christians.

We’ll have more regarding Daniel 11, starting with verse 33 next time!

 

[1] Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Daniel, p. 138

[2] Ibid

Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, temple mount. Tags: , .

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